Spring rebirth and fertility, one of the main icons of it is the egg and Polish nation have made decorating them an art form. Decorated eggs were taken out into the fields as the grains were sown, along with a candle blessed at Gromniczne in order to bring life back into the warming soil.
Eggs were also buried at the base of fruit trees to make them bear in abundance. Even the water in which boiled-style eggs were prepared is sacred it's used to wash in, bless with, poured along the property lines to protect against thunder & lightening and to protect against the ravages of weather, it's also used in annointing bee hives to bring plenty of sweet tasting honey.
A bowl of decorated eggs was kept in the homes at all times, to ensure good health and prosperity. Once decorated in ritual fashion, eggs were never thrown out if they were broken. Instead they are buried in the garden, bringing good fortune, or given to the Rusalje (water nymphs/spirits) in the nearest river or stream. A great symbol of fertility, eggs traditionally bedeck the breads baked for weddings.
The eggs are decorated in several different styles. Boiled eggs are decorated in single colours, usually red. These are meant to be eaten, or fed to the livestock, and are dyed appropriately with materials safe for consumption. Krapanka are also boiled eggs, and are decorated with multi-colored dots. Drapanka are single color boiled eggs into which a design is scratched with small knife tip. Lystowka are wrapped in leafs and subjected to a bath in boiling water with onion skins. The most common and most tedious form of decoration, however, is called pisanki, a batik-method coloring using beeswax or natural dyes.
Traditionally the eggs were decorated by women and girls only. Ages old rituals passed from "babci" to her family are used for the preparation of the designs.
There are a series of traditional designs with names that date from pre-christianity. Examples are the set of four called
Crisp Mazurek can be safely kept for just as long as gingerbread. Should you have any left over from Easter feast.
Take 350 grams of good country butter and cream, beat into a fluffy mass, then add 120 grams if icing sugar, 120 grams of peeled and crushed almonds, grated skin from one lemon, six hard boiled egg yokes grated through a sieve, 400 grams of plain flour and a pinch of salt. Knead the ingredients quickly into a dough, form a ball wrap it in alluminium foil and place it in the fridge for an hour. Then using 2/3 of the dough for making of the base on a baking tin, the rest form into a pencil-thick rolls and lay them on the base in a lattice pattern. Spread beaten egg yolk on the surface and then bake in a medium heated oven until it turns yellow. Leave the cake to cool after baking. Fill the lattice with jam. Use 100 grams of icing sugar, a table spoon of boiling water and a tablespoon of lemon juice to make the icing for decorating the mazurek.
Crisp Mazurek with Confectionery Mass
Take 300 grams of coarse wheat flour, put it through a sieve, then add 200 grams of diced butter. Place it on a board and "chop" it together. Add 120 grams of sugar, 5 hard boiled egg yolks rubbed through a sieve and one stick of vanilla. Knead the dough, cover it with a cloth and place in the fridge for one hour. Spread the cooled dough on a baking tin. Use a small bit of the dough to form thin rolls and stick to the sides of the base. Spread a beaten egg yolk on the surface. Bake the dough in a medium heated oven until it turns slightly yellow on the surface. For the 'kajmak' filling, boil half a litre of unsweetened condensed milk with 400 grams of icing sugar and the vanilla stick. Keep stirring as it boils, otherwise the filling could be burned. Continue boiling until you can drip a drop of it on to a plate with out it being to runny. Cool the 'kajmak' filling down and work it into a smooth mass adding 100 grams of butter. Spread it on the baked crispy flan, and then decorate it with orange skin which should be fried in sugar, peeled almonds and caramel.